Fewer Say Islam Encourages Violence: Views Of Muslim-Americans Hold Steady After London Bombings

Source Organization: Pew Research Center


07/27/2005 - The July 7, 2005 terrorist bombings in London drew considerable public attention and raised fears of another attack in the United States, but these concerns do not translate into less favorable opinions of either Muslim-Americans or Islam, according to the nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. And compared with 2003, fewer now say that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence.

The survey conducted among 2,000 adults between July 7, the day of the first terrorist attacks in London, and July 17, finds a majority of Americans (55 percent) saying they have a favorable opinion of Muslim-Americans. That is roughly the same proportion that expressed positive opinions of Muslim-Americans in Pew surveys conducted in July 2003 and March 2002, and significantly higher than the 45 percent holding favorable views in March 2001, prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Most striking in the wake of the terrorist attacks in London is that the number of Americans saying that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence has fallen significantly to 36 percent in the current survey from 44 percent two years ago.

U.S. attitudes toward Islam as a religion remain generally less positive than opinions about Muslim- Americans, with 39 percent of the public registering a favorable view of Islam, compared with 36 percent holding an unfavorable view. A quarter of those polled (25 percent) offered no opinion. These numbers are little changed from earlier surveys. In addition, most Americans (59 percent) say they believe Islam to be very different from their own religion, though the number seeing much in common between Islam and their religion has risen slightly from 22 percent in 2003 to 27 percent today. 

Read the full report Fewer Say Islam Encourages Violence: Views Of Muslim-Americans Hold Steady After London Bombings on the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Web site. 

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